POLICE are hunting a masked robber who held up a Hampshire petrol station at knifepoint as people shopped in a neighbouring supermarket.
The raider forced the attendant to hand over hundreds of pounds during the terrifying raid, which happened at the Tesco garage in Sizer Way, Dibden, on Saturday night.
The cashier was confronted by a man brandishing a knife and, fearing for his safety, opened the till.
Police say the raider made off with between £400 and £500, leaving the garage's shop while an accomplice held the door open for him.
Both men fled on foot in the direction of a roundabout beside the entrance to the garage and the adjoining Tesco supermarket. The cashier was left shaken but unhurt.
Police arrived minutes later and cordoned off the scene, but the garage was open as usual yesterday.
One of the people who used it was Cllr Peter Armstrong, a member of Hythe and Dibden Parish Council, who said: "This sort of thing is a rare occurrence in the area and our thoughts are with the cashier, for whom it must have been a traumatic experience.
"At a recent parish council meeting the Police Community Support Officers said crime was down in the area."
A woman who was shopping at the Tesco supermarket on Saturday night added: "A police car pulled up and when we went out to the car we saw police tape and cones blocking the petrol station's entrance and exit, plus a few police cars.
"After getting home I went on social media and saw a few posts reporting a robbery.
"Someone said it was knifepoint but no-one was hurt and a few people commented to say they were OK. We only live a two-minute walk away and if burglars are targeting the area I'd like to know about it."
Last night police denied that some of the police who attended the robbery were armed.
The man who brandished the knife is described as aged 20-30, slim, about 5ft 11in and spoke with a local accent.
He was wearing a black jacket with a dark grey hooded top underneath with the hood up, a light coloured face covering which went to the top of his nose, and tight white gloves.
The man who held the door open was described as wearing dark clothing.
The robbery occurred between 7.30pm and 7.50pm on Saturday. Police would like to hear from anyone who saw two men matching this description either entering or exiting the store, or acting suspiciously in the surrounding area.
Ring CID West on 101, quoting 44170073345, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.